The Pontifax life-science venture fund will soon raise $300 million in its third financing round, sources say. The move will transform the biotechnology industry in Israel into a world power, said one.
The funds chaired by Teva chairman Eli Hurvitz already raised $90 million within a month last July, after raising $40 million three years ago. Pontifax is considered the biggest biotech investor in Israel.
"Pontifax is now focusing on the appropriate use of the funds raised in the second placement, and is not involved in another round of financing," CEO Ran Nussbaum said.
"Nevertheless, the fund can certainly be expected to hold a third round of financing that will be larger than the earlier ones. The second fund is expected to invest ... over the next four years, to be followed by cashing in the years that follow. Management's attention is focused on these investments."
Pontifax has already proven itself a force. The funds have invested directly and indirectly through the publicly traded firm Biomedix Incubator Ltd. in about 50 start-up life-science companies in Israel.
Biomedix is worth about NIS 250 million. The company owns the controlling share in the privatized Kiryat Shmona incubator Meytav, which contains about 30 companies from various fields including biotech, imaging, immunization, medical instrumentation and biological materials.
Some of the companies it manages have raised financing in various capital markets over the past year, including Protalix in the United States and NasVax in Tel Aviv. Biomedix has also acquired a controlling share in the Ashkelon incubator, which includes 20 companies, most of them in life science.
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